Downtown Disney is an area available to the public without a ticket to Disney parks. It’s filled with restaurants and gift shops, and is divided into 3 sections: Marketplace, West Side, and Pleasure Island. We only spent time at the Marketplace.
Buses will take you from any park or on-property resort to the Downtown Disney area…it probably took us 25 minutes to get to Downtown Disney, and a solid 30 minutes to get back to our resort. We were wiped out by then, so the ride home seemed really long.
Our plan going into our trip was to go to Downtown Disney when we could. We didn’t schedule it in because we hoped we’d just find a chance to get there after a shorter park day. Unfortunately, that meant that we ended up at DD after being rained out at Epcot. And the rain didn’t stop that afternoon…it continued to rain steadily all night long, which was such a bummer. I really feel like we didn’t get a good chance to explore the area as we would have liked.
However, we put on our ponchos and went for it, and I’m glad we did!
We stopped in the Christmas shop, primarily for old times’ sake for Matt and me. While on our honeymoon, we were in this shop (and bought an ornament that we still put on our tree) and overheard this probably 10-year-old smart alec kid commenting on Disney’s prices. At one point, he said, “$20? I mean, you’re ripping off Disney at that price!” We cracked up, and a family saying was born…Matt and I have said “You’re ripping off Disney at that price!” dozens of times in the past 12.5 years.
I did buy an ornament that the kids and I agreed on to commemorate the trip (trust me, no easy feat, since I was looking for something not super-obnoxiously large and colorful), and then ran through the rain to one of our destinations: the Lego Store. If I could make those letters glow or sing, I would. This was heavenly for our boys.
We spent a good deal of time at the Lego store, with each of them choosing a set to buy (this was one of 2 souvenirs each of them chose the whole trip). I’m so glad this is the first Lego store they’ve been to, because it’s just huge.
After that, we headed over to T-Rex for dinner. It was 8:15 or so by this time, and we were quoted a 45 minute wait. Thankfully, it was slightly less than that, but we had plenty of time to peruse the huge gift shop area while staying out of the rain. We were seated in the Ice Age room, complete with a giant T-Rex fossil, icy stalactites, and colored lights that changed every several minutes (you’ll see in the pictures what I mean). The only downfall to this room is that your food does not look natural at all, so it can kind of play tricks with your mind as you go to take a bite!
Now, we were starving, of course, but the food was really good! The atmosphere is definitely fun for the kids, and you won’t have to suffer through food that’s just OK to experience it. We got Mozzarella Sticks for the kids for an appetizer, and they included a piece of lightly-breaded, seared fresh mozzarella that was seriously one of the most delicious things I’ve ever eaten.
I wish we’d had time to return, but alas, we didn’t. A good time was had by all. 🙂